Shelf Centered

A blog about books & culture from the librarians who love them

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage

by Nancy Wagner, Adult Services Librarian

August 2020 marks the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.  In addition to several programs the Library will be offering in August to spotlight this historic event, tune in to WTTW to watch "The Vote", a two part series scheduled for July 6 and 7.

And watch for more information about the Library's Suffrage programming!

  9 Hits
9 Hits

LGBTQ+ Romances That Won’t Make You Sad

By Krista Hutley, Teen Librarian

We all need a happily ever after sometimes. Here are seven novels for adults featuring LGBTQ+ characters that will give you all the feels. 

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy: A Reluctant Royals Novella by Alyssa Cole
While her boss the prince was wooing his betrothed, Likotski had her own romance. Unfortunately it ended in heartbreak. She runs into the woman who broke her heart while back in NYC and agrees to meet again, hoping to find out why Fabiola unceremoniously dumped her. Their meeting goes well enough that they end up exploring the city together and wondering if they can take a second chance on each other.

Digital Library of Illinois Ebook:


American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
Nesto Vasquez has six months to make it work after moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck to the wilds of Upstate New York —the last thing he needs is a distraction. Jude Fuller is proud of the life he's built on the banks of Cayuga Lake, with a great job and friends, but he’s lonely. Jude can’t help flirting with Nesto when he tries Ithaca's most-talked-about new lunch spot. Their connection is real but can they overcome their pasts to be together?

Digital Library of Illinois Ebook:

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Bisexual Danika Brown is anti-romance; she devotes her time to her academic career with an occasional roll in the hay to relive all that tension. When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues her from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, his heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae - and Zaf is begging Dani to play along to help his kids’ nonprofit. Dani's plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. But grumpy Zaf is secretly a romantic - and he's determined to corrupt Dani's stone-cold realism.

Call number: F Hibbert, T (coming soon)

Digital Library of Illinois Ebook:


How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune
Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. And he's fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone. Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

Digital Library of Illinois Ebook:


When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
Katie Daniels is a perfection-seeking 28-year-old lawyer living the New York dream who has gladly left behind her Kentucky past. Her bubble is burst when she is suddenly dumped by her finance, art curator Paul Michael, leaving her devastated and completely lost. On a whim, she agrees to have a drink with Cassidy Price--a self-assured, sexually promiscuous woman she meets at work. The two form a newfound friendship, which soon brings into question everything Katie thought she knew about sex--and love.

Call number: F Perri, C.


Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian

Will Sedgwick can't believe that after months of searching for his oldest friend, Martin Easterbrook is found hiding in an attic like a gothic nightmare. Intent on nursing Martin back to health, Will takes him to the countryside to recover. Martin doesn't much care where he is or even how he got there. He's much more concerned that the man he's loved his entire life is currently waiting on him hand and foot. Martin knows he's a lost cause, one he doesn't want Will to waste his life on. As a lifetime of love transforms into a tender passion both men always desired but neither expected, can they envision a life free from the restrictions of the past?

Digital Library of Illinois Ebook: (coming soon)


The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover's sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn't until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband's scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door. Unexpectedly to both, they fall in love, but sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?

Call number: F Waite, O.

  65 Hits
65 Hits

Dr. Fauci = Romantic Heartthrob??

By Nancy Wagner,  Adult Services Librarian

As reported in Kirkus Magazine's  June 1, 2020 issue:

"The novel coronavirus pandemic has led Americans to develop some unlikely new celebrity crushes— among them Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.The 79-year-old immunologist definitely has his share of admirers: Just do a Twitter search for “anthony fauci daddy” if you don’t believe us.

Happy Endings by Sally QuinnJournalist and author Sally Quinn, however, recognized the good doctor’s hotness long before the rest of us. Fauci was the inspiration for a character in Quinn’s steamy 1991 novel, Happy Endings, reports Washingtonian magazine.  Quinn told the magazine that the character of Michael Lanzer, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, was based on Fauci, whom she met at a Washington dinner. “I just fell in love with him,” Quinn said. “He was so different from most Washington people, because he’s so self-effacing. He’s not in it for the glory or the name recognition.”

In the novel, the character of Sadie Grey—the widow of an assassinated U.S. president—falls for Lanzer, who, inconveniently, is married.

Unfortunately you will have to wait to get a copy as the novel is only available as an Interlibrary loan.  However please be advised that back when it was first published Kirkus said  it was “laborious, stilted, and—perhaps worst of all—fantastically unsexy.”!!


  6 Hits
6 Hits

A Juneteenth Pilgrimage on the North Shore

By Sheri Reda, Youth Services librarian

Juneteenth is the annual commemoration of the official end to slavery in the United States. In honor of the celebration this year, you may be interested in learning about locations throughout the North Shore that have had significance to the Civil Rights movement. 


Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka: In 1946, shortly after the end of World War II, a group of residents organized an interfaith, interracial group called the North Shore Citizens’ Committee, which met at the Winnetka Community House and actively promoted integration.

Beth Emet Free Synagogue, 1224 West Dempster Street, Evanston: On January 13, 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech at Beth Emet about the difficulties and promise of the civil rights movement. It was entitled, “It’s a Great Time to Be Alive.”

The Wilmette Human Relations Committee (WHRC):  Formed in 1963, the WHRC aimed “to promote social harmony and thereby end prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance in whatever form these shall appear.” WHRC members worked to help secure passage of the civil rights Act also traveled to Alabama to participate in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March led by Dr. Martin Luther King. The WHRC was housed at 1200 Wilmette Avenue.

First Methodist Church, 526 Church Street, Evanston: In May of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spoke at the First Methodist Church on the parable of the Good Samaritan and challenged his interracial audience to consider whether they are good neighbors.

Sacred Heart School on the North Shore, 1095 Gage street, Winnetka: In April 1964, a busload of sixth- and seventh-grade Black kids from Raymond School, on the South Side, spent a week living with Winnetka families and attending Sacred Heart School and living with Winnetka families.

610 Melrose Avenue, Kenilworth: In 1964, Lilian Calhoun and her husband were the first Black couple to purchase a home in Kenilworth, on Melrose Ave. 

New Trier High School, 385 Winnetka Avenue, Winnetka: In 1964, New Trier Graduate Linda Davis volunteered for the "Mississippi Summer Project of 1964." 

Village Green, 525 Maple Street, Winnetka: In July 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at the Village Green to encourage the 1965 North Shore Summer Project. The project was intended to end discriminatory housing practices in Wilmette and Winnetka.

Evanston: On April 7, 1968, an estimated 3,000 Evanston residents took part in a march that combined a tribute to King with a stand for fair housing. The march began at Emerson Street and McCormick Boulevard, proceeded through the downtown area, and ended in Raymond Park at Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, where a memorial was held.


photo via Winnetka Historical Society

  119 Hits
119 Hits

Five Favorite Teen LGBTQ+ Reads in Different Genres 

by Krista Hutley, teen librarian

Gone are the days when books with LGBTQ+ characters were few and far between. They're no longer hard to find; in fact, we're in somewhat of a renaissance these days, with books featuring queer characters in every genre. Here are a few favorites for young adults in a few favorite genres: contemporary reads, science fiction and fantasy, and suspense and mystery.


Felix Ever After by Kacen Callendar
Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.
Call Number: High School Callendar, K.
Digital Library:


You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
The queer prom romance you didn't know you needed -Kirkus reviews
Call Number: High School Johnson, L.
Digital Library:


Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
A studious girl and a quiet, straight-A boy start a controversial podcast together that challenges their courage and forces them to confront issues in the form of backlash and censorship.
Call Number: High School Oseman, A.
Digital Library audiobook: 


Camp by Lev A.C. Rosen
At Camp Outland, a camp for LGBTQIA teens, sixteen-year-old Randall "Del" Kapplehoff's plan to have Hudson Aaronson-Lim fall in love with him succeeds, but both are hiding their true selves.
Call Number: High School Rosen, L.


The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
When his volatile father is picked to become an astronaut for NASA's mission to Mars, seventeen-year-old Cal, an aspiring journalist, reluctantly moves from Brooklyn to Houston, Texas, and looks for a story to report, finding an ally (and crush) in Jeremy, the son of another astronaut.
Call Number: High School Stamper, P.
Digital Library: 


Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta
A young shapeshifter has to learn to control her powers, while simultaneously using them to disguise herself as a boy and confront the people who murdered her father.
Call Number: High School Capetta, A.


Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
In a near-future society that claims to have gotten rid of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting seventeen-year-old Jam's mother created, a hunter from another world seeking a real-life monster.
Call Number: High School Emezi, A.
Digital Library: 


When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
When Alexis accidentally kills a classmate on prom night using magic, her best friends Roya, Iris, Paulie, Marcelina, and Maryam join in using their powers to try to set things right.
Call Number: High School Gailey, S.
Digital Library: 


Reverie by Ryan La Sala
While recovering from an attack that leaves him without his memory, gay teenager Kane Montgomery stumbles into a world where dreams known as reveries take on a life of their own, and it is up to Kane and a few unlikely allies to stop them before they spillover into the waking world.
Call Number: High School La Sala, R.
Digital Library: 


The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
Nirrim endures a grim and punishing life as a Half Caste until she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possess magic and tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself.
Call Number: High School Rutkoski, M.
Digital Library: 


Suspense and Mystery

All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick
In alternate chapters, Amanda faces family pressure to marry Carter, knowing he cheats, and Paulina pretends to date Carter to alleviate family and church pressure about being a lesbian.
Call Number: High School Frick, K.


A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
When Chinese American teenager Jess Wong's best friend Angie falls in love with a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess expects heartbreak. But when everybody's secrets start to be revealed, the stakes quickly elevate from love or loneliness to life or death.
Call Number: High School Lo, M.
Digital Library: 


Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman
Finding himself alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan does what any red-blooded seventeen-year-old would do--he tries to hook up with someone new. But that lapse in judgment leads to him waking up next to a dead guy, which sparks an epic case of mistaken identity. Now he's on the run from federal agents--and a cyber-terrorist group who will stop at nothing to find him.
Call Number: High School Milman, D.
Digital Library:


White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
Rufus Holt gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. He and ex-boyfriend Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife beside the dead body of her boyfriend. April swears she didn't kill Fox. Rufus knows her too well to believe she's telling him the whole truth, but April has something he needs. Her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can't stop loving, Rufus has one night to clear his sister's name...or die trying.
Call Number: High School Roehrig, C.
Digital Library: 


Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan
After high school graduation, Mac focuses on finding the serial killer who murdered his best friend the previous summer, while working through his own feelings for the deceased.
Call Number: High School Ryan, T.

  98 Hits
98 Hits

4 Breezy Summer Reads

by Amy Barrow, Adult Services librarian

Looking for fun summer reading? Here are 3 titles that fit the bill.

Beach Read by Emily Henry 

Two writers summering in neighboring beach homes challenge each other to write in different genres.

Ebook | Downloadable Audiobook


Summer Longing by Jamie Brenner 

A baby is left on the doorstep of a Cape Cod Home, and alliances develop to protect her.

Ebook | Audio cd 


Party of Two - ebook

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Ebook | Downloadable Audiobook


Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin 

A dark, humorous page turner about an unemployed singer who is hired as a playgroup musician.

Book | Ebook

  10 Hits
10 Hits

Take a Virtual Tour of the  Notorious RBG Exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center!

By Susan Kaplan-Toch, Youth and Adult Services Librarian

Although this museum is closed, you can virtually explore a very fascinating exhibit about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

This Skokie museum contains Holocaust exhibits, the world's first interactive survivors experience , exhibits on tolerance, a library, and an interactive virtual Holocaust exhibition field trip. Enjoy this world class Holocaust museum virtually with its powerful messages about the need for tolerance and taking a stand against injustice.  

notoriousrbg facebook 1536x864

  12 Hits
12 Hits

Discover how some of our past American leaders have handled crises

by Ted Remus, Adult Services Librarian

If you love history like I do, you will find the Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts fascinating - "The Roosevelts - an Intimate History". Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor - all related, well known, effective leaders and role models, and all different in their own way.  You will see how they shaped and were shaped by personal, national, and international crises.  This series is available from the library through the Kanopy streaming service or on DVD.


  13 Hits
13 Hits

Take a virtual tour!

By Barbara Goodman, Adult Services Librarian

Want to learn more about architecture right from your own home?  The Chicago Architecture Center is offering virtual tours led by their expert docents.  Tours cover a variety of topics, including Chicago's Downtown Theatre District, Graceland Cemetery, and The Future of the Hospital. Check out the events here and start enjoying some local armchair travels!  

 (Photo: CAC website)

  13 Hits
13 Hits

Stream indie films while you support the Wilmette Theatre!

By Barbara Goodman, Adult Services Librarian

There's a wealth of material available for online streaming these days, including independent films that might have been playing at the Wilmette Theatre were it not for “stay at home” circumstances. Now, you can watch virtual screenings of indie films at home, and a portion of your viewing fee will help support the Wilmette Theatre until they can reopen. Take a look at the theater's online programming schedule and don't forget that you can even enjoy their fresh movie popcorn from home

  18 Hits
18 Hits

Livestream the "We Are One Film Festival". May 29 -June 10

by Nancy Wagner

The Festival includes feature films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy, and panel discussions.  20 major film festivals from around the world are taking part in this 10 days of curated films streamed on YouTube for free.   Donations to the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund will be accepted. 

And pick up your fresh popped popcorn at the Wilmette Theater!  "Takeout Popcorn is Back! For $10, you’ll get a yummy big ziplock of fresh movie popcorn! Equals two large size popcorn bags combined. Deliciously easy! So get your order in ‘cause supplies are limited, and this is too good to miss!

  21 Hits
21 Hits

Dissecting a Dirty Word in Libraries: Sci-Fi

Written by Jillian McKeown, Head of Adult Services

When Emily St. John Mandel’s book Station Eleven came out, it quickly became my hot pick when a patron came in and asked if I had a recommendation for a “good book.”  I had them hooked from the get go, “it’s really a book about memory: family, relationships, love and how we move forward and connect in times of tragedy.  It’s a beautifully written story, and I love how just when you think Mandel is going to follow a predictable plot line, she flips the script, and it includes a travelling band of Shakespearian actors!”  Then, I’d start to lose them when I said, “it takes place after a plague... “ (patron’s eyes begin to widen and glaze over) “and it’s about how we regroup and reflect on our lives..” (me, beginning to talk really fast to keep their attention) “wait, it’s a gorgeous book and it’s not sad!”  Patron says, “is this science fiction?!”  Me: “yes, but it's sci-fi light! I promise! It’s really not that much sci-fi!” Annnnnd, I’ve lost you.


Science fiction gets such a bad rap in libraries to a general audience.  It has a reputation for going right to the “hard stuff” that we may collectively imagine, such as machines and far-out technology, space and interplanetary travel, cyborgs and the like.  Yes, while that is a portion of the genre, it encompasses so much more that deserves your attention and yes, maybe even your love. 


A more exacting definition of science fiction is that it takes place in a world/space/time different than ours now.  It can indeed be on other planets or places, or it can be earth, and is typically a little further into the future, or maybe even in the past.  There usually has been a mass societal change and could have been brought about by some shift in the environment or technology. uses a phrasing that I like, that it’s imaginative and based on science, but whoa doggie, science is huge!  It encompasses so much!  (Side note: You may have also heard of other similar genres such as speculative fiction, which can include magic or the supernatural, think of it as a subset of sci-fi.)


Science fiction runs the gamut of hardcore to the most softest of core, and I’d like to recommend some of the latter so that you may just turn into that person who attends that post-shelter-at-home party and can wow your friends with how awesome and smart you are because “oh yeah, I’ve read some sci-fi in my day, no big deal” as you cooly sip your cocktail or mocktail.  


Here are some great science fiction titles to get you going*: 


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson 

American War by Omar El Akkad

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

You Have Never Been Here: New and Selected Stories by Mary Rickert

Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

*Please note that many of these titles can fall into the subgenres of the sci-fi umbrella, which can include fantasy, speculative fiction, and dystopian fiction to name a few.

  136 Hits
136 Hits

Culture from the Couch: New York City Ballet

Ballet fans, rejoice! New York City Ballet is having a virtual spring season this year, sharing videos from their archive twice a week. On Wednesdays, they are sharing classic ballets created by the company founders, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. On Fridays, they are sharing contemporary works by newer composers including Justing Peck and Christopher Wheeldon. This is a rare opporutnity to view full-length ballets featuring some of the best dancers working today. Videos air on New York City Ballet's YouTube channel and Facebook page, and are available for 72 hours after they premier.

Watch the videos: 




  24 Hits
24 Hits

Jessica's Podcast Recommendations

Podcasts are a great way to catch up on news, get lost in an engrossing story, or hear a fascinating interview. Podcasts are available for streaming and downloading through apps including Apple’s Podcasts, Overcast, and Stitcher. Our librarians have put together some of their favorite podcasts to get you started!

   You Must Remember This

You Must Remember

It is all about the history of Hollywood. I loved the season called The Blacklist which was all about the fear of the presence of Communists in the film industry in the late 1940s.

   99 Percent Invisible

99% Invisible

This podcast is an exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. One of my recent favorite episodes was #336-Model City which is about an enormous scale model of the city of San Francisco that was created as a WPA project in the 1930s. The host, Roman Mars, has the best podcast voice.


The Sporkful

This podcast is about food but also culture, science, history and people. The host Dan Pashman's laugh is infectious and a big part of the reason I listen.

   Hit Parade

Hit Parade

This podcast is a deep dive into music and musicians via the history of pop-charts with trivia and song-snippets. A favorite episode of mine is The Def Jams Edition which covers this label's underground style in the 80s when it was just starting.

   More Perfect

More Perfect

This is a podcast about the history of the Supreme Court. It explores through history how the cases the court decided affect our lives. One of my favorite episodes was The Political Thicket - about a redistricting case from 1962 that Chief Justice Ear Warren considered his most important case of his tenure.

  23 Hits
23 Hits


Go to top